5 Biggest Mental Errors Pro Athletes Must Avoid

When you’re getting paid millions of dollars annually, specific mental errors are unacceptable at the professional level.

You must avoid these top five mental mistakes as a professional athlete to play to your potential and sign better contracts.

If you just focused on reducing each of these errors, you would experience a dramatic impact on performance!

Become 1% daily, and your professional career will become whatever you wish it to be.

5 Biggest Mental Errors of Pro Athletes

These are in order of most common to least.

1. Poor Self-Awareness

Imagine self-awareness as a monitor constantly analyzing your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and actions.

Alerting you instantly when any system falls outside of desired parameters.

Professional athletes with a poor monitoring system experience the following:

  • Pro athletes with poor self-awareness will focus on the wrong things, such as a bad shot from 20 minutes ago.
  • Pro athletes with poor self-awareness will let their emotions get away from them.
  • Pro athletes with poor self-awareness tend to make poor decisions yet are unaware of why.

Self-awareness is the #1 skill I coach when working with clients because it’s the most significant opportunity for an athlete to improve.

Simply building self-awareness alone can have a dramatic impact on the performance of a top athlete.

2. Self-Limiting Beliefs

Think of self-limiting beliefs like a governor on an engine.

Even though the engine may be tuned to 550 horsepower, the governor holds it back to 365 horsepower.

As a professional athlete, there are beliefs you hold true based on your team, your skills, and your potential.

The three most common self-limiting beliefs are:

  • “I am not good enough.”
  • “I am not worthy.”
  • “Mistakes and failure are bad.”

A pro athlete who doesn’t feel “good enough” often plays in alignment with this belief and ends up underperforming.

Professional athletes who feel unworthy avoid making connections with or trying out for better teams.

If a pro athlete believes mistakes and failure are bad, they tend to play it safe yet never become an elite athlete.

Mistakes and failures are certainly not great, but the key is to avoid identifying with failure.

3. Can’t Let Go

Competing as a pro athlete, you can be sure of one thing; mistakes are gonna happen.

The worst part about a mistake isn’t the mistake itself yet the athlete’s reaction to it.

You see it all the time with athletes who seem to fall apart.

They make one mistake, refuse to let go of it, and continue to make additional mistakes.

When you refuse to let go, you live in the past and play with a frustrated emotional state.

This is not the emotion desired for peak performance.

4. Low Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is one’s ability to manage emotions and emotional interactions with other team members.

This is critical to a pro athlete’s career because emotions guide your actions and decision-making.

A player with low emotional intelligence will often make a poor play that can be linked to their emotional state.

Playing with guilt, shame, or embarrassment hurts your ability to perform.

You can only compete to the level of your emotions!

5. Negative Self-Talk

As a professional athlete, you had better watch the words you say to yourself because your subconscious mind is always listening in.

It hears what you say to yourself and internalizes it as fact.

Words have power, and when they have a negative vibe associated with them, they lower your emotional vibe.

As stated in #4 above, this impacts your performance.

When you start managing the conversations, you’re having with yourself; things change fast!

Next Steps

If you’re a professional athlete who realizes your mental game is off, we can help.

Dr. Jay Cavanaugh is one of the most sought-after mental performance coaches today and can help.

Contact him directly using the contact form found on this site or call him directly at 1-951-999-VIBE (8423).